One School’s Plea to the NCSE

The new proposed NCSE model is likely to be sanctioned very soon. I wrote about my concerns last year, as did a number of others during the consultation. It appears that the NCSE either didn’t read any of the contributions or they have chosen to completely ignore them. In fact, it would be interesting to compare the new and old version of the model. I am almost certain there will be no difference. In fact, I’m getting the suspicion that any of these consultations that are going on are tokenistic affairs with little to no consideration given to them. The new NCSE model is completely flawed in its reaction to the problem it is trying to address. One school has asked a number of educational blogs to spread their thoughts on the model and here it is below.

The following was a summary of a response from a discussion with members of this school’s staff:

NCSE_logo_03Before anything else happens, they believe this model needs to be deferred at least until 2016-17 if it is to happen at all.The swiftness at which the new model seems to be coming in and the lack of information on the ground for the ‘ordinary’ teacher is of huge concern. They believe a pilot scheme must take place with further consultation with teachers. Another concern is that parents don’t seem to have been consulted nor informed about the new model and the information sheet that has been published seems to give a very different slant.

The school also believes that clarification of the proposed descriptors for resources should also be made.  Once these are in place, a school must have its new hours in a timely fashion, with a window to appeal before the start of the academic year.

When it comes to weighing up resources in terms of standardised results, what happens between junior infants and 1st class where there are no STEN scores to talk about? What will happen to children who have no diagnosis coming into school, yet are very obviously in need of help?

It’s difficult to disagree with these points and these are just initial thoughts that came up at one school’s staff meeting. It doesn’t take much scratching around to see how this new reform is simply a cutting mechanism of SEN. For example, one of the components for allocating resources is that primary schools with less than 50 students receive 0.2 additional teaching posts; schools with 50-99 students receive 0.3 posts; schools with 100-199 students receive 0.4 posts and schools with greater than 200 students receive 0.5 posts.

Right now, a school with 199 pupils usually has 7 mainstream classes, which currently equates to a total of 1.4 posts. In one fell swoop, a full teacher is gone. I also cannot understand how a school with 50 pupils receives an allocation of 0.2 teachers but a school with 500 pupils gets 0.5 teachers. The sums don’t add up and the DES and NCSE are going to have to go back to their submissions for consultations and this time, they might consider reading them.

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